Le 26/02/2021. If you work remotely – either because of the COVID-19 pandemic or because that is the nature of your...
Niveau B1-B2 (intermédiaire)
In the mid-1700s, China had a monopoly on the international tea trade. The Chinese honed their expertise over centuries, creating delicious brews. So delicious, in fact, that Britain decided to make it their own!
The British were spending vast amounts of money buying tea from China, but China was not purchasing any British goods in return. This created a financial imbalance between the two countries. In addition, Britain could not control the quality nor the price of the tea. Britain’s solution was to trade poppies from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border – which was part of the British empire at that time – with China. Bombarding China with opium created a drug problem, and so Britain found another solution to their problem – theft!
In 1848, a Scottish botanist called Robert Fortune smuggled tea bush seeds and tea-processing know-how out of China and into Britain. This is one of the biggest and most infamous thefts of intellectual property in history. Britain then began growing and producing tea in a country where they could control the quality and the price – India. India soon took over from China as the world's most successful tea producer. To say that Britain did not play fair is an understatement.
Today, tea is still an important beverage in Britain. But is teatime really that important to the British? Yes and no. The British love their tea, but at home or at work they don’t have a set time every day when they sit down and drink tea, as some people believe. The nation may drink more than 150 million cups of tea throughout the day, but these tea breaks are spread out over the day from the early morning to the evening.
Tea rooms are a big thing in the UK however. A tea room is a place you can go to with friends or family to drink tea and eat cakes, sandwiches or scones for afternoon tea. Scones, cream and strawberry jam served with tea is also called cream tea, and it’s yummy! Enjoying afternoon tea at a tea room is normally for special occasions for the British, but is very popular with tourists.
to hone = perfectionner
a brew = une infusion
to make it their own = accaparer
goods = des produits
imbalance = déséquilibre
poppies = du pavot
a theft = un vol
to smuggle = faire du trafic
know-how = expertise
infamous = notoire
to play fair = respecter les règles
understatement = un euphémisme
yummy = délicieux
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